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Vaccine information for ages 5-11


COVID-19 vaccinations for kidsHave you and your child been vaccinated?

Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine shots for children ages 5 through 11 are widely available at Pima County Health Department clinics, mobile sites, schools and pharmacies. The vaccine is free and is recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization related to the COVID-19 virus. Getting children vaccinated against COVID-19 will also help prevent outbreaks in schools and ensure that classrooms and schools stay open.

Did you know:

  • In clinical trials the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine was found to be about 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children 5-11 years.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • People living with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting and getting sick from COVID-19, according to multiple studies.

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    Frequently asked questions on COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11-year-olds

    Where can I take my child for a COVID-19 vaccination?

    Here's what parents can do:
      Go to or check with your local pharmacy to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available for children. You can also check at www.vaccines.gov.
    • Check with your child’s healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination.
    • The pediatric vaccine is available to Pima County Public Health Clinics, Abrams Public Health Center, and at various mobile sites, including school locations. Find locations and hours of operation for County sites at www.pima.gov/covid19vaccine

    How is this dose different from those given to 12 and older?

    The Pfizer dose administered to children aged 5-11 is a lower dose. It contains only one-third of the dose given to those 12 and older, and a second dose is given 21 days later.

    How does it work?

    The vaccine works in the same way other vaccines do. It teaches the body’s immune system to recognize the virus and prepares the body to fight it by making antibodies. That way, the body is already armed and ready if it encounters the virus, making a person much less likely to get infected, and if they do, they are much less likely to become as sick or to need to be hospitalized than they would have without the vaccine.

    What side effects, if any, are expected in this age group?

    The most common side effects reported in the clinical studies were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pain. When these occurred, they were generally gone within 1-3 days. In the reports submitted to the FDA, the vaccine manufacturer noted that these side effects were generally milder and occurred less frequently than in adolescents. In 5-11 year-old participants, there were no instances of heart inflammation (myocarditis and pericarditis), that has very rarely occurred in some older adolescents and young adults, primarily among young males aged 16-29.

    How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?

    In clinical trials of about 4,500 children aged 5-11 years, Pfizer reported the vaccine to be safe and well-tolerated with no cases of heart inflammation or severe side effects. The FDA conducted its own analysis of the manufacturer’s data, and determined that the benefits of preventing severe cases of COVID-19 outweighed the risks of possible side effects in 5-11 year olds. Millions of doses have been given to children 12 and older, and thus far the vaccine has been very effective and safe.

    What is known about any long-term effects of the vaccine?

    The mRNA molecules in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very fragile and are quickly broken down, so that nothing is left from the vaccine that could stay in the body to cause long term effects. Like other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine simply stimulates an immune response. The COVID-19 vaccines have been the most closely studied vaccines of any developed, and continue to undergo the most rigorous safety monitoring in U.S. history.

    Why should 5- to 11-year-olds get vaccinated if they tend to not get as seriously ill as older people?

    Although most do not become as seriously ill as adults, they run the same risk of becoming infected and thus risk complications. Since the start of the pandemic, almost 2 million children ages 5-11 have been infected, more than 8,300 have been hospitalized, and 94 have died, according to CDC data. The death toll makes COVID-19 one of the top 10 causes of death for this age group. MIS-C, the serious condition that causes inflammation in body organs, is most frequent among children ages 5-11 years infected with COVID-19. Children can also suffer from long-COVID conditions. The number of children becoming infected is increasing, due to the Delta variant. Even if they do not have symptoms, they can spread infection to other vulnerable people, perpetuating further infection.

    How does the dosage work for children? What should a parent do if a child turns 12 after they get their first dose of the pediatric virus but before the second is due?

    As opposed to many medications, vaccine dosages are based on age and not size or weight. If a child turns from 11 to 12 years of age in between their first and second dose, the second dose should be the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents and adults. However, if the child receives the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years for their second dose, they do not need to repeat the dose. 

    Is there a fertility/development concern with vaccinating children before they reach puberty?

    No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, can cause female or male fertility problems. 

    How will vaccine safety be monitored in this age group?

    COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor safety using our established and new safety monitoring  systems. Parents/caregivers can enroll their child in v-safe, a free and easy-to-use smartphone-based app, where they can complete health check-ins after COVID-19 vaccination and report how their child is feeling after vaccination. Additionally, patients, caregivers, and vaccine providers are also asked to report adverse events after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), even if it is not clear that the vaccine caused the adverse event. CDC reviews all of the information and reports any serious adverse reactions.

    Is the federal government worried about myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination in children?

    Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 12–17 years. These reactions are rare; in one study, the risk of myocarditis after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech in the week following vaccination was around 54 cases per million doses administered to males ages 12–17 years. 

    Is it safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, like flu??

    Yes, if a patient is eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit, as recommended by CDC and ACIP. In addition to flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines as well. 

    Will children younger than 12 receive a vaccine card?

    Yes, all vaccine recipients, including children ages 5 through 11 years, will receive a CDC vaccination card upon initial vaccination. 

    Parent videos: Why getting your child vaccinated is important

    COVID-19 and kids: How mRNA vaccines works

    ADHS Virtual Town Hall: Answering our COVID-19 questions


    Other parent resources

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